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Features‘Jaffna Steel Houses Unfit for Human Habitation’ – Expert Report

‘Jaffna Steel Houses Unfit for Human Habitation’ – Expert Report

A team of experts from Moratuwa University has found that 65,000 steel houses, to be constructed in Jaffna by ArcelorMittal multinational steel company, are unfit for human habitation.

The team comprising Prof. Priyan Dias, Dr. Rangika Halwatura and architect Varuna de Silva has released their preliminary findings during two-day visit to the peninsula.

The steel houses are around at least double the cost of a block wall house and that it is clear that the way forward is to construct block wall houses, says the analysis.

The steel houses suffer from inadequate foundations, insufficient roof support, risk of steel corrosion despite the coatings provided, poor ventilation, absence of hearth and chimney and poor or non-existent capacity for extension or repair.

Also steel houses have much shorter lifespan, unlikely to create a sense of ownership, and very unlikely to foster the local economy and generate employment, it says

Previously, north chief minister C.V. Vigneswaran has said these steel houses do not suit the environmental and cultural conditions of the people of Thelippalai and Kopay.

Following discussions at cabinet meetings about these steel houses, president Maithripala Sirisena ordered the suspension of their construction.

 Rehabilitation and reconstruction minister D.M. Swaminathan has objected to Vigneswaran’s view, and after the president mediated, Vignewaran said it were neither the president, the north chief minister nor the rehabilitation and reconstruction minister, but the people, who would live in those houses, and their voices should be heard to before going ahead with the project.

The contract given to Indian Lakshmi Mittal’s ArcelorMittal is worth more than 20 million US dollars.


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